The sketch at lower left of this sheet depicts a footbridge at Bass Rocks at Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, Massachusetts, where Rothko and his wife Edith Sachar (1912–1981) vacationed with the Averys—Milton (1885–1965), Sally, and March—and Esther and Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974) during the summer of 1934. This bridge was a popular subject for earlier artists, including Leon Kroll (1884–1974) (fig. 1). Rothko relied on this pencil sketch when he made a watercolor of the subject (fig. 2). He gave the watercolor, which is double-sided (a watercolor of Portland, Oregon, likely painted the year before, is on the verso) to Edith’s oldest sister, Pauline Pottish, née Sachar. Rothko relied on the study of the woman on the right side of the current sheet as the model for a larger scale finished watercolor of a woman and child (fig. 3).
Mark Rothko: Works on Paper will ultimately document approximately 2,600 works from public and private collections worldwide. Cataloging is ongoing, and works and information will be added to the site during the coming years.